OK, so many of us have found the idea of a dinner table more of an idealistic one; many dining room tables in many homes all over North America are covered in mail, discarded items and unfinished homework, rather than serving as a gathering place for the family to eat. Too many people take their meals at the TV or on the go that table manners seem to be a lost art. Perhaps it’s too late to salvage everything your grandparents insisted on, but there is definitely room for a modern-day reboot. Sweep the crud off that dining room table and start the process today!

Lay Down the Rules. Perhaps you can’t be like grandma and say no elbows on the table, but set some basic rules: no reaching across people or the table, no eating with fingers (except in certain cases), no burping at the table, etc. Simple stuff. If you must, make a chart and keep it up. Think of how proud and relieved you will be when you someday send your child off to college, knowing his table manners…well, perhaps later then, once he’s married. Maybe.

Practice. Sure, why not? Tea parties are perfect for boys and girls to teach table manners and etiquette. Have fun.

Provide Opportunities to Shine. When you go out to eat, don’t always automatically choose someplace silly and kid-oriented that needs no silverware, much less table manners. Kids older than age 7 can (should) be trustworthy enough to eat like people rather than pigs. Let them order something and help them to use their manner. When they succeed, praise them and let them know how proud you are. Plus, you get a meal that doesn’t automatically come with fries!

Some Basics:

  • No open-mouthed eating
  • No eating with fingers (unless it’s finger food, like fried chicken, pizza, etc.)
  • Napkins in laps
  • No reaching across the table or across other people
  • Ask before taking a serving
  • Say please and thank you
  • USE the napkin
  • Don’t chew or talk with open mouths
  • Don’t talk about rude things at the table
  • No burping
  • If you’re a guest, eat what is served and don’t complain, unless you have a genuine dietary problem…which should have been advised  of before dinner was served
  • Keep elbows off the table

Good luck and God Speed!!